Artists at a glance
THE CANVAS ROOM
THE CORNER LAUGHERS
THE MATINEE IDLES
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and guest blogger Barney from Songeist reviews them for us this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ALISTAIR OGILVY – Deep Blue Sea
Residing in Glasgow but brought up in Strathclyde, Alistair Ogilvy kicks off the list this week with his breathtaking folk track Deep Blue Sea. The rousing string arrangements and beautiful male/female harmonies recall the best of Damien Rice, with the cinematic scope of the track recalling the only other Ogivly I know, Ian Ogilvy – favourite actor of cult British horror director Micheal Reeve. We can neither confirm nor deny whether Alistair is a distant lovechild thereof.
BUTTON EYES – A Fever
A Fever comes to Fresh on the Net via the studio team 184 Production’s Soundcloud stream. There is currently only a limited amount to glean on the net about the self-professed ‘musical collective’ Button Eyes. What we do know right now is that they have the ability to produce serene soundscapes, underpinned by crunchy breakbeats and topped by sublimely soulful, gospel-tinged vocals, coming off as a seamless cross between Aloe Black, Groove Armada and Peter Green’ ‘Albatross’.
DORINE LEVY – Lenyrose
Currently based in Tel Aviv, Canadian-born Doreen Levy pins The National’s soaking-wet guitar tones onto an epic indie-pop backdrop with her own distinctive head-voice soaring above it all. Part Sigur Ros, part torch song, Lenyrose sounds like what you might expect Julee Cruise’s classic Falling to sound like, had it been recorded in 2014. Doreen’s website is also rather fun. As was Twin Peaks, to be fair.
RUE ROYALE – Set Out to Discover
Nottingham-based, Anglo-American duo Rue Royale‘s Set out to Discover is a precious pearl of world-weary indie-folk that only truly takes hold when the discreet chorus whispers in from out of nowhere. All sweet and dreamy Californian boy-girl harmonies set against the gritty, minor-key threat of Fender Rhodes, Set out to Discover recalls Nicks / Buckingham Fleetwood Mac at their stormy, tempestuous Dreams-era best. Hopefully without the extra-marital affairs and drug abuse.
SALES – Chinese New Year
It’s not hard to see why Florida’s Sales has amassed a gargantuan amount of Soundcloud plays. Chinese New Year is a perfectly-pitched slice of dreamy, lo-fi pop where the title of the song gently insinuates itself into the listener’s brain at the end of a stanza like the hook of all good songs should. With upper-register, Pixies bass and little-girl-lost vocals, Sales play the type of 90s indie that recalls Belly and Juliana Hatfield and whose revival is bubbling up right about now. Extra points for the gorgeous, kitschy artwork they proudly showcase on their sites that complements the music perfectly.
SUNTRAPP – Circus Child
Circus Child, by enigmatic Newcastle-based folk songsmith Suntrapp, has a timeless quality that pervades the whole track, conjuring fresh fields and sunrise over British meadows. Recorded in a single take, the song also shares the same bittersweet quality that makes Nick Drake’s Pink Moon so beguiling. You’ll find it hard to decide whether it’s the saddest happy song you’ve ever heard, or the happiest sad song. And that delicate, perfectly-placed, shiver-inducing high note that closes the guitar figure at the transition from the chorus to the verse is the type of detail that separates the legendary from the ordinary.
BENBRICK – And So She Runs
And So She Runs comes from Benbrick – the pseudonym of producer-extraordinaire Paul Carter, whose credits include co-writing the theme music to Evangelion 3.0 with Utada, (whom The Japan Times called “the most influential artist of the decade”) which reached platinum sales first week. On And So She Runs we get an exquisitely-produced slice of piano-driven pop, with phased vocals, retro synths, descending piano arpeggios and futuristic gospel textures. It’s easy to see why Benbrick’s music has been used in ad campaigns reaching four continents.
THE CORNER LAUGHERS – Midsommar
Midsommar by California’s The Corner Laughers’ combines country-inspired instrumentation with sparky, upbeat vocals and the kind of intricate, detailed pop arrangements that recall Sixpence None The Richer. There’s something of a US Kirsty McColl to the vocals and it would take a more cynical man than I to deny the pomp and circumstance of the Pumpkins-esque guitar solo that smashes through the track in the mid-section. There are ukuleles, there are strings and, more’s the shame, this is the exact kind of track where a big producer would sweep in and tell the band that there’s ‘too much going on’ for radio. But for the people with the attention-span to listen to music beyond a drum beat and a vocal in a car on a motorway this is rousing, visionary, adult pop.
THE MATINÉE IDLES – Everything
Dublin’s Kevin Barry – aka The Matinée Idles – uses tremolo guitars, stirring strings and understated crescendos to complete his move-like vision of Everything. After submitting yourself to the song’s gruff, Leonard Cohen vocals and grand scope, it’s not hard to see why Kevin signed a licensing deal to a publishing company in the USA and has enjoyed synchs with several major movies as a result.
VIOLA DUST – The Big Hop
Viola Dust is one of those acts that make operating in the emerging-artist territory so exciting and rewarding. With no particulars online, seemingly cracked from an egg fully-formed last weekend, and boasting just eight (count ’em!) likes on Facebook, Viola stakes his claim on the hearts and minds of the kids of the future by mixing the pumping energy of Hot Chip and the tongue-in-cheek irony of Discoteque-era U2 with the vital ingredient of Arctic Monkey’s spacious, nocturnal AM zeitgeist.
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Barney is the community manager at Songeist.com. He enjoys the singular thrill of being one of the first to hear a great, emerging act, unsullied by media hype or industry expectations. He also writes guidance blogs, fuelled by his extensive gigging and DIY music business experience with rock / reggae / dance mash-up Sonic Boom Six. Barney takes his coffee strong, black and often and would one day like to visit Australia.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.
But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.